This excellent book by Canadian writer Rick Lauber (2015) shares the lessons he and his two sisters learned while caring for and obtaining care for their mother (Parkinson’s) and their father (Alzheimer’s). His book is directed not only had teaching how to provide and obtain care for loved ones, in his case his parents, but also how to assure that the caregiver takes adequate care of himself. The book is particularly good on the psycho-social aspects of caregiving for one’s ill parents.
Here is the table of contents:
Chapter 1: Defining Caregiving
- The Different Types of Caregivers
- What Type of Caregiver Are You?
Worksheet 1: Caregiving Self-Analysis
Worksheet 2: Your Circle of Caregiving
Chapter 2: Caring from a Distance
- The Challenges of Long-Distance Caregiving
- What to Do When You Get There
- Find the Necessary Information and Documents
- Check the Safety of Your Parents Home
- Respect the Decision That Not Everyone Wants to Relocate
- Emotional Distance
Worksheet 3: Home Safety Checklist
Chapter 3: Finding Suitable Accommodations
- The Different Types of Living Arrangements
- Things to Consider When Searching for Accommodations for Your Parent
- Affording the Cost of Care
- The Future of Seniors’ Assisted Living and Long-Term Care
Worksheet 4: Researching Long-Term Care Facilities
Chapter 4: Moving Your Parent
- Organizing the Move
- When Your Parent Doesn’t Want to Move
- When Your Parent Can No Longer Drive
Worksheet 5: Driving Safety Checklist
Chapter 5: Organizing Your Parents’ Documents
- Keeping Documents Organized
Worksheet Six: Document Organizer
- Understanding the Important Documents
- Medications and Medical Information
Worksheet 7: Medical History Log
Worksheet 8: Medication Log
Chapter 6: Visiting Day
- Enjoying Activities with Your Loved One
- Finding the Best Time to Visit
- Celebrating Holidays and Birthdays
Chapter 7: Maintaining Harmony When Working with Family Members
- How To Conduct a Family Meeting
- What to Discuss During the Family Meetings
Chapter 8: Caring for Yourself
- Take Care of Your Own Health and Wellness
- Socialize and Pursue Hobbies
- Join a Support Group
- Pamper Yourself
- Schedule Time for Yourself Regularly
Worksheet 9: Scheduling “Me” Time
- Delegate Some of the Work
- Find a Day Program for Your Parent
- Interviewing and Hiring Help
Worksheet 10: Getting to Know a Potential Caregiver
- Taking Care of Yourself after Your Loved One Dies
Chapter 9: Remaining Active
- Preparing and Taking Your Parent For Seasonal Outings
- Find Time for Your Own Physical Activity
- Activity Isn’t All About Physical Exercise
Chapter 10: Men and Women Care Differently
Chapter 11: Obamacare: What It Means for Seniors and Family Caregivers
- Stay Informed
Chapter 12 Mobility Aids and Emergency Safety Devices
- Mobility Aids and Other Useful Items
- Emergency Safety Devices
- Travel Kit
Chapter 13 Finding Joy In Caregiving
Chapter 14: Final Thoughts
Download kit —
Lauber offers a set of forms in Word or PDF format to help you keep track of caregiving needs, via this URL
For Example, here is Worksheet 1:
Self-evaluation is crucial to caregivers. While you will be presented with many new responsibilities and challenges, you must know what you can do and the extent of your own personal limits.
Answer the following questions as honestly as you can. Addressing these issues sooner rather than later will help you identify your own strengths and weaknesses, which will be beneficial to you as a caregiver. Share these questions (and your answers, if you feel comfortable) with your siblings and delegate your roles appropriately.
- What can you do as a caregiver?
- How do you feel about becoming and acting as a caregiver?
- What would you identify as your characteristic strengths and weaknesses?
- Who will help you with your caregiving responsibilities? (Identify what others can do.)
- Beyond your immediate circle of contacts, where will you look for additional help?
- Can you work easily with others or do you prefer to work independently?
- Are you flexible with your own schedule?
- What negative issues do you foresee with serving as a caregiver?
- How will you respond to or counteract these negative issues?
- Where will you seek respite for your loved one?
- Where will you seek respite for yourself?
- List three additional ideas for personal coping and caring mechanisms (these will be new areas of interest to you that you could try in the future).
- How much personal respite time will you give yourself?
- What do you want to achieve as a caregiver?
- Are you hesitant or reluctant to serve as a caregiver? If so, why?
- How much will this hesitation interfere with your caregiving duties?
- Will you be able to perform certain tasks or do you need to assign them to others?
- Can you honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I am doing the best job I can as a caregiver”?
- Do you have any regrets about serving as a caregiver? If so, what are your regrets and how can you resolve them?
- Where can you learn more about your loved one’s medical condition and prognosis?
- What other personal or professional demands, besides caregiving, exist for you?
- How will you know you have done your best being a caregiver?
- Are you an optimist or a pessimist? (Note that optimists will have an easier time and might be better caregivers.)
Lauber, R., (2015), The Successful Caregiver’s Guide, Canada: International Self-Counsel Press, Ltd.